Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crossing the Moon, by Paulette Alden

Paulette recounts her struggle to find herself, and her identity within a world full of mothers.  As a young woman, Paulette found herself rebelling against the stereotype that women go from being virgins, to wives, to mothers.  Instead, Paulette pursued her dreams and her education.  As she approaches middle age, however, she determines that she does indeed want to have a child, and spends months going to extreme lengths to conceive.

I really related to a large portion of this book, namely the messaging that women get regarding maternity.  When a woman is not actively pursuing maternity, or, heaven forbid, goes to great lengths to avoid it, people assume there must be something wrong with her.  Either she is physically "defective" and unable to conceive, or she is simply too selfish to desire motherhood.  I think this is really damaging messaging, and I think the book shows why.  For years, it seems as if Paulette was ambivalent about motherhood, but as soon as her own mother calls her selfish for choosing childlessness, she is filled with a burning desire to conceive.

She then spends endless money, time, and energy trying to follow the path laid out for her by society.  It is incredibly emotionally taxing, on her and her husband.  She details her medical procedures, and discusses how her fertility difficulties impact her overall identity.  It is honest, and raw, view of the unpleasant side of fertility treatments, a view of how failure feels.

I was deeply impacted by this book.  For so many women, maternity and identity are so intertwined, and no one talks about what happens to the female identity when maternity is not an option.  This book will really connect with readers who have suffered from fertility struggles, or even maternity ambivalence.

This book is from my personal library and I wrote an honest review of my own volition.


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